My Research Proposal: Work-Life Balance

“Just how important is maintaining a positive work-life balance for a university student and does it affect learning potential and productivity in a university setting?”

This question above is my chosen topic for the course of the BCM212 subject. Not only does it have serious relevance in regard to the pressures that modern students place on themselves but the distractions that are so readily available to anyone and how easy it can be to set study and work aside in the chase for social freedoms.

This topic in particular hits closer to home for myself as I constantly feel like I struggle to promote a healthy ‘work-life’ balance when it comes to my own university career, and I feel like this is true for many other students at universities around the world. A quick twitter poll posted to the BCM212 hashtag revealed similar results to what I was expecting.

Much more recently, the Coronavirus (Cvoid-19) pandemic that has swept the planet has added an entirely different dimension to my research topic that I had not previously anticipated. Using the University of Wollongong as an example, how will the process of online classes and lectures influence the ability of a student to maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Taking away the physical aspect of attending class and actively participating could cause lack of motivation and then subsequently lead to an imbalanced and ultimately harmful misuse of social time compared to schoolwork and study. I feel that this new corridor of research potential will add depth to the paper and also the use of recent and globally recognisable topics can provide a layer of validity to the research that I will put forward.

When it came to conducting some initial research to scope if my topic had the pervious interest from other researchers and the public, I did not have to look very hard to find some credible sources with respected journalists and researchers. Not only were there an abundance of sources to investigate but having such a relatable question meant that I could conduct polls on twitter and have face-to-face conversations with students who share their real experiences with me. These inputs from fellow students started to back up the research that I was reading which lead me to believe that I was on the right path.

Specific Sources that I Have Noted so Far:

Forbes Magazine: “More Proof that work-life balance can be a life or death issue”

Rodd Wagner 2017

This article published to Forbes online platform goes into detail of how being overworked both in a career sense and regarding study at University, can lead to major health implications down the road, especially heart issues due to fatigue and stress built up over time. This example primarily focuses on job related stress in the workplace but makes references to study, nevertheless, the principal is the same. It states that a person with extended work hours, 55 hours or more a week, risk of heart issues due to stress and fatigue is increased 1.4-fold. Also puts forward the fact that overworking causes erratic sleep patterns which can decrease a person’s productivity in the long run.

Open Colleges: “Don’t overload students”

Marianne Stenger

This was a much more student focussed source that used surveys conducted in a university to monitor students mental health and learning capabilities. The lead researcher for this project, Mollie Galloway, published her findings which support how damaging a student who favours work to social livelihood is to their own mental health. The results were clear. Students who spent much more time doing work were more behaviourally engaged but tended to show symptoms of anxiety and stress. When the students were asked if the extra work they were getting from the university was helpful, only 6% said it was “very useful” and these students all showed signs of increased stress levels and a lack of balance.

Charles Darwin University research paper: “Why good mental health is important for study”

2016

This was a good source to use because it explained the benefits in regard to study that good mental health can display. To gain positive mental health, the university suggested that maintaining the balance between social life and university work is the key to success. This was also a useful and credible resource because it was made specifically for students during their exam period, further supporting the argument that a positive work-life balance is vital.

Higher education quality council of Ontario: How Online Learning Affects Productivity, Cost and Quality in Higher Education: An Environmental Scan and Review of the Literature

2014

I have included this source as I believe the recent Cvoid-19 pandemic, that has shifted most universities to online classes, will affect how a student maintains a positive work-life balance with all the distractions of home close by. The study conducted in this paper discusses how student grades did not differ too much from online classes to face-to-face classes. But the difference was the students “time-on-task” was vastly different. It was said that the ample distractions that surrounded a student at home meant that long term, we may start to see vast differences in grades. With Coronavirus threatening how we learn, forcing students into an online platform could cause a serious imbalance in their ability to focus on social lives and school work.

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